Special Advocacy for Veterans
Veterans Service Officers (VSO) advocate for members of the Montgomery County Veteran Community for access to eligible benefits and services; usually from the state of Veterans Administration, which is the bulk of their work.
According to the VA, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 8 men experience some form of sexual assault, harassment, or rape on active duty. Further, some research suggests those identifying as LGBTQ are disproportionately exposed to military sexual trauma.
If you experienced any form of sexual assault, harassment, rape, or domestic violence while on active duty and still suffer mental or physical health problems today, you are eligible to receive counseling and services at the VA, regardless of discharge status, time in service, or disability status.
We recommend you contact the Norristown Vet Center at 1-877-WAR-VETS. You may also be eligible for service-connected disability benefits as a result of these experiences. If you have not filed for benefits or you filed and were denied and would like to learn more about the changed rules regarding filing for these benefits, please contact our office at 610-213-4022 and ask to speak to a VSO.
VA Women’s Health Services
We recommend you contact the Coatesville VA Medical Center at 610-384-7711 (ext 3371) to learn more.
Name Changes for DD 214s
Congress has authorized the correction of records when it is considered necessary either to rectify an error or to remove an injustice. DD Form 214 does not list gender, but it does list your name. While for most non-transgender people, a service record showing a former name does not communicate any sensitive information, for transgender people disclosure of the former name can be equivalent to the disclosure of transgender status. This can be considered an injustice and will be the strongest basis for your request to update your name on the DD 214.
Generally speaking, to update your DD 214 military discharge record, you will need two things: a completed DD Form 149 (Application for Correction of Military Record) and evidence to support your name change request. If possible, this evidence should include proof of your legal name change and gender transition, such as a U.S. passport, driver's license, or government-issued ID card showing your updated name and gender.
The Montgomery County Office of Veteran Affairs can assist you with this process. For more information, click here.
LGBT Veteran Care
The Veterans Health Administration is the largest integrated health care system in the United States and strives to be a national leader in providing care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender veterans. In 2012, the VHA's Office of Patient Care Services created the LGBT Health Program, which provides policy recommendations, provider-education programs, and clinical services to support personalized, pro-active, patient-driven healthcare for LGBT veterans.
For more information click here.
Incarcerated Veterans Benefits
VA benefits are affected if a beneficiary is convicted of a felony and imprisoned for more than 60 days. Disability compensation paid to an incarcerated veteran rated 20 percent or more disabled is limited to the 10 percent rate. Payments are not reduced for participants in work-release programs, residing in halfway houses or under community control.
Failure to notify the VA of a veteran’s incarceration can result in overpayment of benefits and the subsequent loss of all VA financial benefits until the overpayment is recovered. VA benefits will not be provided to any veteran or dependent wanted for an outstanding felony warrant.
The VA may be able to take a portion of the amount that an incarcerated veteran is not receiving and pay it to his or her dependents if they can show need. When a veteran is released from prison, his or her compensation or pension benefits may be restored. Depending upon the type of disability, the VA may schedule a medical examination to see if the veteran’s disability has improved or worsened.
For more information, visit the Federal VA: Incarcerated Veterans webpage.
Veteran Treatment Court
To apply to become a participant mentor, e-mail Ryan Fox, VSO with reasons why you would like to become a member, your veteran background, your involvement with the justice system and substance and/or addictive lifestyle recovery.
For more information, click here.
Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Program
VJO offers outreach and case management to veterans involved in law enforcement encounters, overseen by treatment courts, and incarcerated in local jails. The purpose of the VJO initiative is to avoid the unnecessary criminalization of mental illness and extended incarceration among veterans by ensuring that eligible justice-involved Veterans have timely access to VHA mental health and substance abuse services when clinically indicated, and other VA services and benefits as appropriate.
VA Medical Centers have been strongly encouraged to develop working relationships with the court system and local law enforcement and must now provide outreach to justice-involved veterans in the communities they serve.
Each VA medical center has been asked to designate a facility-based Veterans’ Justice Outreach Specialist, responsible for direct outreach, assessment, and case management for justice-involved Veterans in local courts and jails, and liaison with local justice system partners.
For more information, visit the Federal VA: VJO website.